exercise discernment. #MeditationThoughtMondays

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exercise discernment

 

I love talking about myself  (who doesn’t?) and, surprise, surprise, I love talking about yoga.  So when my student Angela Lutz, freelance writer for The Pitch KC, contacted me asking for an interview for a health article about yoga, I jumped on the chance.  She suggested we talk about a specific yoga posture and how this posture can enhance your health.  I suggested we talk about the posture of ‘sitting still.’  Because mental and emotional health are just as important as a toned yoga body.

After reading my blog article, 5 benefits of meditation, Angela was intrigued… she’s been an Intro to Ashtanga student of mine for a few years, but these classes are so short (one hour is NOT enough time!) that the meditation time is limited to a few short moments of silence at the end of class.  Angela is a smart, driven, part time writing teacher and full time graduate student.  She’s busy. Her schedule is packed and she has deadlines to meet. But she tried it.  She tried sitting still.  What did she discover?  You’ll have to read her article in The Pitch KC to find out.

Master my thoughts? Lisa Ash helps me meditate on that idea  by Angela Lutz  March 2015

“When I worked in a dreary corporate office, I used to meditate during my lunch break. I’d park my car in an empty strip-mall parking lot, close my eyes and focus on the sound of traffic whizzing down the nearby highway, trying desperately to think of nothing.

My brain would not cooperate.

Instead of relaxing, I found myself fixating on the e-mail I forgot to send, the résumé I needed to update, the money I wasn’t sure I had enough of to buy groceries at Whole Foods that week.

According to Lisa Ash, lead instructor at Maya Yoga (215 West 18th Street) and studio manager at Westport Yoga (4304 Bell), that inability to silence such distractions isn’t such a bad thing.

“Your brain is not supposed to stop,” she says. “If your brain stops, you die. You’re supposed to gain mastery over your thoughts.”  Read Full Story Here.

 

Today: exercise discernment.  Acknowledge feelings as they appear.  (Even the anger toward the horrible driver at QuickTrip) and then consciously choose to keep that feeling, or let it pass through you.  Choose what is healing.    Happy #MeditationThoughtMondays

Much love,

lisa

Lucky St. Patrick’s Day Smoothie, Green Smoothie Recipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

smoothie in mugSo… do you need to detox after your St. Patrick’s Day Pint?  (I’m pretty sure everyone and their mom… except for me and my mom… were at the Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Westport this year.  Traffic was horrendous!)  We’ve been blessed with sunshine and warm spring weather this year, so it’s time to celebrate the season with something yummy and green!

Here’s my new and improved Special St. Patrick’s Day Green Smoothie recipe.  (Highly recommended for detoxing if you had one too many pints of something else on St. Patty’s Day.)

green st partricks smoothie

Ingredients:

  • Juice from 1/2 Lime
  • 3 Celery Stalks  (cut into pieces)
  • 1/2 Cup Honeydew Melon Pieces
  • 4 Cups Spinach
  • 12 oz Coconut Water

Method:

Nothing to it!  Throw the greens into the blender (I use my Vittamix for smoothies and juices), followed by celery, melon, spinach and lime juice.  Pour in 12 oz coconut water, blend on high for a minute.  Pour into a frosty mug and enjoy!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

-lisa

If you have extra celery, try my yummy pear-and-celery slaw recipe.

 

experience a sense of ease. #MeditationThoughtMondays

sense of ease (schiffman)

“As you immerse yourself in stillness… you will experience an unexpected and immensely satisfying sense of contentment and ease.”  e. schiffmann, “Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness”

I’m not a very ‘still’ person.  Many days, I look back over the events of the day and remember that the only time when I sat ‘still’ was when I was eating lunch (on my couch, cuddled up next to my Russell Clive)… and this doesn’t even count because this time was spent stuffing my face with vegetables like the #NutritionNerd that I am.  (Did you make my favorite roasted veggie salad yet?).  I sit in the car a lot– that comes with the territory of teaching yoga at several studios and having a home office– but even in the car I’m constantly in motion. Needless to say, Sitting Still is profoundly healing, but often profoundly elusive.

Sitting still doesn’t happen in our lives because

a) we are busy.

b) we are tired. (we fall asleep every time we try)

c) it’s hard.

The stillness-phobic among us are terrified to even try meditation because ‘it’s hard to be still and I’m not good at it.’  (Join the club.)

Well, it is hard.  But because sitting still, being still, and stilling the Mind are difficult feats to achieve, many meditation techniques have been developed to teach us how.  One technique I’d like to share with you is profoundly helpful for me.  (If you are brand new to Meditation, you’ll also want to read these posts:  5 benefits of Meditation  and learn to meditate. your way.)

It’s called “Counting Backward.”  In this meditation technique, breathing is the primary focus.  We always begin with the connection to the breath, because it is our connection to the Present Moment and to the Spirit within.  The technique will help you move into stillness.  Erich Shiffmann, leading yoga teacher and author, writes: “Sitting absolutely still –practicing brief physical immobility– can teach you how to be in the conflict-free, higher-energy, ‘stillness’ state for more of your daily life.”

Steps to “Counting Backward” Meditation:

1.  Sit very comfortably with your back straight.  If you can’t sit on the floor with your back straight, then sit against a wall or on a chair.

2.  Close your eyes.

3. Breath normally, gently, fully.  Experience the room you are in and experience your body for a moment.

4.  Begin to count your breathing, mentally, silently.  Begin with 50 on an exhale.  49 on an inhale.  48 on an exhale.  47 on an inhale.

5.  Avoid elongating or changing your breath.  You are learning to NOT be in control.  Let the breath be very gentle, full, and soft.

6.  When you lose your count, come back to 50.  Continue counting every breath silently backward until the count of 1.

7.  When you reach zero, stop counting, but stay aware of the natural intake of breath.  Sit for a few more moments and enjoy the ease.

8.  Immerse yourself in the stillness.  End the exercise any time you feel ready.  Extend your deepest gratitude for this moment and for all of the many blessings which bring you joy in this life.

“As you immerse yourself in stillness… you will experience an unexpected and immensely satisfying sense of contentment and ease.”  e. schiffmann, “Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness”

One day, you won’t need the tool of counting backwards… maybe you can just slip into stillness.  I first tried this technique two years ago and it is still one of my favorite ways to begin a meditation moment; I use it often.  If I only have a few moments, then I begin counting backward from 10.  Give it a good try; if you find it helpful, then keep trying it.  If you find it unhelpful or distracting, try something else.  Remember, you are your own best teacher!

If you would like to practice this technique with me, you may take a Meditation Class with me Sundays at 11:00 am at Maya Yoga KC and you may sign up for my 3 Week Workshop: Introduction to Meditation at Westport Yoga KC Sundays April 12, April 19, and April 26, 2015.  See my teaching schedule and events page for full details.

ASH intro to Meditation April 2015

Happy Stillness,  Much love,

-lisa